Grandma was a frail older woman, in her early 70?s, and of small stature. Her skin was of a light brown complexion, wrinkled and ashy. When I sat on her knee, her brittle hands would always gently wrap around my waist. I would kiss her on her cheek, which was always cold for some reason. Grandma always wore dark blue dresses that came down to her ankles and an old pair of black dress shoes everywhere. You know, the ones with no heels that appear as if they are slippers. She was old fashioned, and didn?t hesitate to instruct my dad to switch me if
I remember one time I had acted up; oh I paid for that one. It had just rained, saturating the earth in the back yard beyond capacity. Mud puddles were everywhere; they were enormous filled with dirty grimy water. These mud puddles were everything a kid could dream of; they were irresistible. My cousins and I jumped, stomped, splashed, and rolled in the mud puddles; we had a great time. My grandma had told us kids not to track mud through the house, but I was having too much fun with my cousins to take her seriously. We were chasing each other, and
I ran into the house with the mud still caked all over my body. My grandma caught a glimpse of me dashing through the living room when she bellowed for my father. Grandma told him that she had warned me to not track mud through the house, but I had done it anyway. My father came, took one look at the carpet, and instructed me to retrieve the switch. I did as ordered, and subsequently was beaten for my insolence. I had red whelps all over my legs; I never tracked mud through the house again.
Mother summoned for Janelle and I to come to her room; from the sound of her voice, we felt she was distressed about something. As we entered her bedroom, we discovered she had been crying. I asked what was wrong, but she just motioned us to sit on the bed beside her. My sister and I slowly sat on either side of her wondering what was going on. Mother pushed her eyeglasses up a little to wipe the tears from her eyes, and then repositioned them on her face. She spoke quietly, almost with a whisper; ?I?ve got something to tell you two, your grandma died last night?. We both leaned back in disbelief, but we didn?t utter a word.
Janelle was the first to speak; ?how did she die?? Mother replied that she died in her sleep, and she didn?t suffer. I asked with a soft whimper, ?Why did Grandma have to die, what did she do wrong?? Mother replied that grandma?s time was up, and that she was in a better place now. She said Grandma had lived a good life and was at peace with what happened.
I felt that genuinely cared about me, the one person that made me feel special, she was gone, forever. I felt abandoned; she left me all alone with no one to understand me, no one to console me. I gazed at the wallpaper, trying not to reflect on my grandmother?s death, trying not to think about any of it. The wallpaper had pink and blue flowers as the d?cor. I didn?t like the design; it seemed too bright, too chipper.
Mother had been speaking with Janelle, but she noticed that I was in my own little world. She gave me Ovie, my tubby orange cat, and said that I could talk to Ovie if I needed to. Mother gave me some advice; she said, ?people would go in and out of your life, but it doesn?t mean they don?t love you?. This advice would prove invaluable because I was feeling unloved, and it made me realize that grandma still loved me.
My dad picked up my sister and I the next morning, and we drove to North Carolina. We arrived at my grandmother?s house late that night. Grandma?s house was an old green and white house, with white drainpipes coming down the sides. A dirt path lead the way to the front door, we walked in and saw everything just how I had remembered it. The aged brown recliner with a wooden handle was still there where grandma used to let me sit on her lap. The television was still on top of the makeshift T.V. stand where Grandma used to let me watch whatever cartoon I wanted. The kitchen still looked the same with the faded green and white tiles on the deck where I stood and helped her make little red hotdogs and cheese eggs for breakfast. All these things were still there except for one, Grandma. My dad ordered us to bed, as we had a long day approaching.
As I laid in bed, I remembered Grandma the last time I saw her; she was a frail older woman, in her early 70?s, and of small stature. Her skin was of a light brown complexion, wrinkled and ashy. When I sat on her knee, her brittle hands would always gently wrap around my waist. I would kiss her on her cheek, which was always cold for some reason. Grandma always wore dark blue dresses that came down to her ankles and an old pair of black dress shoes everywhere. You know, the ones with no heels that appear as if they are slippers. She was old fashioned, and didn?t hesitate to instruct my dad to switch me if I stepped out of line. Grandma was soft-spoken, but firm; I never back-talked her for fear of the painful consequences my dad would inflict on my legs.
The next day would indeed prove to be an excruciating long day, with the wake and the burial. My older sister Perdine accompanied us to the wake, which was in the church a few doors down from my grandmother?s house. As we walked to the church, I noticed that the sky was gray with dark clouds hovering above our heads. The church, a relatively small building, was nearly packed as we tried to enter through the archway. We sat on the left side of the church, and then I saw the casket that held by grandmother. My stomach immediately sank, and I felt sick. The service commenced soon afterwards, and the preacher began his sermon. Amen?s, yes Lord?s, and holla-llua?s filled the room, then the choir burst into a hymn. I sat quietly watching and listening; I was too upset to be religious. I began to cry, and it turned into wailing. My older sister Perdine held me in her arms and attempted to comfort me. After a while, I calmed down and wiped the tears away from my eyes. Perdine took Janelle and I to view my grandmother?s body, and I told my grandma that I loved her. I couldn?t think of anything else to say, I was petrified. We returned to our seats, and soon afterwards, the wake was finished.
We drove to the cemetery, a few minutes away, where Grandma was to be buried. The wind started to pick up as we departed our vehicles to accompany my grandmother to her final flight. We sat in the metal chairs underneath the canopy next to a beautiful wreath of red and white flowers with my grandmother?s picture centered in it. There were blue, white, and yellow flowers arranged in rows boarding her gravesite. All was silent except for an occasional snivel and the preacher speaking from the Bible. A light drizzle echoed the somber ambiance of the service. I thought of all of the good times I had with my grandma, and how I missed her so.
I wondered if I could ever connect with anyone as I did with my grandmother; that special bond between us, could I ever experience something similar? I still ponder these thoughts periodically, hoping to encounter that special bond I treasur